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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
1 Answer | Asked in Probate for District of Columbia on
Q: My husband died intestate. My son is 4. Can I transfer the deed for the condo on his name (my name isn't on the deed).

Most of the estate's value is the equity on the condo (cca 150 000 dollars. The home value is cca 520 000). According to that, my son's 1/3 should be 50 000 dollars. I am currently unemployed, but I have enough assets to keep paying the mortgage for some time until I hopefully find the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 21, 2021

By opening a probate estate, you can transfer or sell anything in your late husband's estate. What I don't understand is how you would be solving your economic problem by re-titling the home to your four-year old son. Once re-titled to him fully, it might be much more difficult to sell it... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: If someone kills their parents & commits suicide & they’re in parents will,does his descendants receive his portion

Would this fall under slayer rule, which would kick him out of the will, therefore his descendants would not inherit his portion?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 19, 2021

It depends on the Survivorship Clause of the Will. The murderer is, of course, excluded, but his heirs are not. If the Will contains a fairly common clause that defines a person as predeceased if they die within 60 days of the testator, then the murderer is considered to have pre-deceased. If the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can you be sued by your neighbors for not mowing grass?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 17, 2021

Usually, grass height regulations are either at the county or city ordinance level or in the home owner association rules, declarations, or bylaws. Whether the ordinance or rule has a private right of action depends of the language of that ordinance or rule. Unless there is some rule you are... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I'm Adverse Possess A Building The Owner Broke In And Three Outher Who Are Workers With Him And Stole Things

I Needed Regarding The Adverse Possession (No Trespassing Signs)/ Heaters 4 Trash Bags Tools And So On. I Called The Police And They Didn't Lock Them Up. And And I Went To The Police Commissioner And And They Declined My Application Of Statement Of Charges.With The Police Complain Police... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 16, 2021

Adverse possession is a defense, not a claim. If you have possessed the property openly adversely continuously and hostilely for 20 years in Maryland, the title owner may not maintain an action to eject you. There is no "adverse possessing a building." Until the 20 years passes, you own... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Banking and Probate for Virginia on
Q: If a will says that 3 people are named executors. Is it illegal for one of them to close a bank account before probate?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 14, 2021

The Will must be probated, and the court must appoint the personal representatives (executors/executrix in Virginia) before they have any power at all. If the bank account is not a probate asset. like an account in which a beneficiary is named or a joint account that was not created for the benefit... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: What is the best way to add a son and remove the deceased mother from the title for an owned home in MD?

Son is already in the will but the father is planning to remarry some time this year.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 14, 2021

The usual answer would be a deed, but you first need to establish who has title and can issue the deed. If the named title-holder is the deceased mother alone, you probably need to open a probate estate and have the personal representative re-title after determining the father's share of the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: On my will, I have my 2 daughters listed as beneficiaries. I want to split everything evenly. On the line for property..

On the line for what property I want to leave them, is there a certain wording for "half of assets" or 50%? Or should I leave that line blank? I don't necessarily need to leave each of them each anything in particular. It would basically be the house and everything in it. They will... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 13, 2021

The likelihood that your drafting of this Will is going to be enforceable is, frankly, remote. Rather, unless your daughters avoid expressing their natural emotions upon your demise by squabbling over the assets, your poorly drafted and -- even more likely -- poorly executed Will is going to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I live in West Virginia. I made an offer on a home. The seller verbally accepted.

Earnest money was provided and a closing date set already. Now the seller is entertaining offers outside the real estate company

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 11, 2021

You may want to review this with a West Virginia lawyer, but the Statute of Frauds came to all of the United States from well back before the foundation of the United States, and contracts in land must be in writing. Oral agreements are a nullity. The question might be whether something was passed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: What happens if an executor steals money from an estate?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 10, 2021

The executor must file an inventory and an account. Anything that isn't accounted will come into question. If you suspect a greater problem, you should communicate with the estate's attorney or with the Commissioner of Accounts.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: Can a non executor close the bank account of someone who is deceased?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jan 4, 2021

If the account had a joint tenant with right of survivorship that was not a Totten Trust or a POD or a designated beneficiary, then the funds pass to the designated beneficiary outside of probate. The executor has very little to do with it, and the bank should only require the beneficiary to... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Elder Law for Maryland on
Q: How do prove that a wife did not sign or agree to a document that relinquished her rights to her husband’s estate.

In maryland

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 30, 2020

It depends on the facts, but one might look to the provenance of the signature using a handwriting expert or the circumstances of the signing. I had one case where the signature was attacked by investigating the notary seal, which turned out to be forged. There are many sets of facts, and it is the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: If I put in an offer on a property for sale, how long do I have to wait before the current owner accepts or rejects it?

My friend put in an offer on a house more than 60 days ago. When they asked the seller about it (seller became elusive) they came back and said they want to wait and see if more offers come in first. Is this allowed?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 18, 2020

I agree with Mr. Valkenet. Cut off the free option. Give them, in writing, 48 hours to accept or the offer is withdrawn. Any salesman will tell you that a deadline helps to clarify the mind.

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Good evening, I recently divorced my spouse and want to have his name removed from my mortgage loan. Is that possible?

My home is located in Virginia Beach

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 16, 2020

That's something that should have been resolved in the divorce settlement. You'll need to refinance, assuming you can carry the house on your income, including alimony, alone.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My lease ended on nov 28 and the manager knew I wasn't signing another lease well she no longer works here and the

I've been paying 835 monthly but now the new manager is saying I have to pay 1,056 because its prorated rent of 875 plus 100 for month to month and 35 for water does this seem right that I have to pay this amount? They give me 30 days to move out

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 7, 2020

You start by reading the lease. Unless it violates local landlord & tenant law, it is binding. I don't know what yours says, because I haven't read it, and they are different.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Dear Sir/Madam, regarding to returning deposit to tenant + interest in Maryland

it says: " Within 45 days after the end of the tenancy, the landlord shall return the security deposit to the tenant together with simple interest which has accrued at the daily U.S. Treasury yield curve rate for 1 year, as of the first business day of each year, or 1.5% a year, whichever is... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 7, 2020

Increase the rent to cover the cost of the interest.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Contract to purchase real estate. Seller passed away.

I have a contract to purchase a residence and the seller passed away a week ago. Do I have any legal way to enforce this contract as her son is harassing me and saying the contract is void and that he is going up on the price etc.

Is the contact still legal and can I purchase for the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 4, 2020

I saw this question yesterday, but I passed on it because perhaps one of my colleagues had researched it. I’d have to review the contract and, perhaps, do a bit of research in the jurisdiction involved, but I believe that the binding contracts of a deceased person can be enforced as a claim in... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: My mother passed in Oct with no will or executor. Her only asset was a mobile home that was paid for, but she rented

the lot. The home is valued at 8,000 but she had credit card debt in excess of 10,000. Do I need to go through the probate process? I have several other questions regarding this matter.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 3, 2020

I'd be happy to sell you a discounted one-hour consult, and we could do it by Zoom in these quarantine conditions, but why would you want to open a probate estate? If her assets were $8,000 -- assuming you could get $8,000 after it was moved off the rental property -- and her debts were... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can my listing agent sue for additional commission after settlement?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Dec 2, 2020

Anybody can sue for anything. All it requires is a pen, a piece of paper, and the filing fee ... and, sometimes, a crayon has been substituted for the pen. What you are trying to ask is whether the listing agent can win, and that depends on what your listing agreement says and whether than... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: do I have right to my parents house when I am the steps daughter to my dad real daughter to my mom
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 27, 2020

You don’t have a “right” to anything you didn’t earn, and your parents can will it to anyone they wish, except that spouses have limited rights to each other’s property upon death. If your parents each make no will and thereby die intestate, leaving no children of one that are not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Do You Need A Work Permit Regarding Adverse Possession

Or Or Is It Regarding Enment Laws Landlord/ Tenant

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 26, 2020

I'm sorry. This question makes no sense at all. You need to retain someone to help you write a question. I do not understand how the concept of a work permit interconnects with the concept of adverse possession. You need a work permit to perform certain types of work on real estate, and you... Read more »

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